Linda Asberry works in Catastrophe Services as a claims adjuster and supervisor, and she carved out some time while waiting for Hurricane Isaac to make landfall to answer some questions about herself and her job.
Linda became a claims adjuster because she had a construction background and family members in the field. “After a year or so of assisting them, I decided I would like to change careers and become an adjuster of property losses,” she says. “I chose Crawford & Company because they are the best.”
Catastrophe training school (through Crawford Educational Services) was Linda’s first formal instruction in adjusting, and she has completed all of the available courses for property. After achieving her general adjuster designation in 2008, Linda started taking CPCU courses. Linda calls herself “probably one of the few adjusters who loves policy!”
Linda loves to help people put their lives back together after a traumatic event. Some of the best parts of her job are teaching new adjusters and meeting people from all over the world. Her least favorite? The wait: the anticipation of where a storm will hit and how severe it will be.
When handling a property claim, here are some of the items on Linda’s “never forget” list:
– Know the height of the building and how best to access it before you get there.
– Keep your appointment and be on time.
– Let the insured “show and tell” first. They have been anticipating your inspection, and they psychologically need to tell you everything the moment you arrive. They need patience, knowledge and your empathy.
– Recognize the difference between commercial and residential building products, and understand the variances in quality.
– Never forget your equipment! Carry at least two of everything, since you never know when one will break or malfunction.
One of the most interesting claims she’s ever handled was a thatched-roof house in England that was more than 300 years old. The materials had withstood the test of time, but the insured was adamant that he did not want an American to handle his claim, Linda says.
“After a few minutes of conversation, he finally agreed to allow me to adjust his loss. It was an education for me as well as one for the insured, who decided Yanks really could perform. The interesting part was truly an education in the materials used and how they have outlasted anything we have available today. They invented green building,” she says. She adds, “I still get holiday cards from them.”
According to Linda, she has learned in this field that no matter where you are, people are the same. She has these suggestions for those considering the claims adjusting field:
- Find a mentor and learn all you can. No one was born an adjuster, and you cannot learn it all overnight.
- Study all the materials you can, but remember you can never learn it all from a book.
- Dress like a professional.
Linda has taken every course offered by Crawford in both commercial and residential property and is working on her CPCU.